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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Keeping abreast of issues

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

As a child I wanted to be many things. I wanted to be a fireman, a baseball player, cowboy and of course, president of the United States. Yes, president, but as with most things, when you grow up you, well, grow up.

My dreams of being a baseball player disappeared when I realized I wasn't very good and after I looked in the mirror and saw what I looked like in a cowboy hat, I decided that wasn't for me either.

I was asked just the other day when I was going to get my start in politics so I could someday become president and sadly, that is out of the question too. You see, my political aspirations died in the seventh grade.

As a young kid, every time my mom made me wear a tie and suit coat, I pretended I was the president and my parents were the Secret Service, driving me to give a speech. I even mastered the hand shake, strong, but not crushing-bone strong. I was on my way until I realized the downfall of the political system.

Much like today's politics, I was involved in a two-party system in middle school. Only when I was 12, the parties weren't Democrat and Republican. Instead we were split into the girls and boys.

In a two-party system like that, politics can be tough. While a boy and girl might have the same feelings toward an idea, you had to stick with your party, regardless of the consequences. This much I found out when I decided to run for student council.

I knew it was going to be a tight race between me and my female opponent going in with 10 boys and 10 girls in the class. Early polls of prospective voters had me ahead by three votes with a margin of error of three but I thought I had an ace in the hole.

You see, one of the girls and I were really good friends and she had promised me her vote. So on election day I put on a nice button up shirt and walked confidently into homeroom with my campaign signs, fully expecting a win.

Then something happened during the vote -- instead of casting ballots we just raised our hands for who we were voting for. Just like in Congress, everyone would now know who was voting for who.

Sure enough, after one vote, my opponent and I were tied at 10 votes apiece. I looked at my ace in the hole and she wouldn't make eye contact. I knew party politics was at play and I was in for a dogfight.

After quick speeches of why we should get the vote -- which I think I was very convincing by the way -- a second vote was taken and we were tied once again.

We remained tied after the third vote and then the fourth and a resolution wasn't in sight. That is when the teacher leveled an ultimatum: Elect somebody or detention for all. Playtime was over.

During the next vote I can still see one of my best friends raising his hands for my opponent. He had crossed the party line and I was finished. When I asked him why he stabbed me in the back, he simply replied that she, well, had boobs. As Ann Richards once said, "...in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you."

I was bitter. My opponent, who campaigned for change, went to student council meeting after student council meeting yet nothing changed. Sound familiar? The same problems we had in the sixth grade we still had in the seventh grade: only one dance a year and not enough pep rallies or assemblies.

Today we elected a president who campaigned for change. Yet gas prices are still outrageously high and we are still at war in the Middle East. What change he proposes is difficult to get through because Republicans stand together and attempt to block the legislation. It might as well be divided into boys and girls in the seventh grade.

Since seventh grade the only political office I've held is senator in college and that will probably be my last office I will ever hold. You see, I like the girls but the guys and I see eye-to-eye a lot as well. And nobody who gets along with both will ever stand a chance in today's political system. That is why things will stay the same and we will never see much change.

I always wondered what would have happened if there would have been a third candidate in that seventh grade election. Chances are if it were a boy candidate it would have just split the boy vote or vice versa if it were a girl. But what-if, by some chance, a third candidate would have made both the boys and girls decide who (me) actually would have been the best choice?

A novel idea but apparently it is one even adults today can't logically conceive. Maybe if they ever do I can run for president as an independent and my dream will come true. Well, as long as my opponent doesn't have boobs.

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David Jenkins
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